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Car won't start, electrical problem?


Jeff (526/1000)
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Galant VR-4 org Post #: 335748 posted 05/06/06 02:19 PM     Remind Me!  Send Private Message   Edit Post      
recently my car has been randomly not starting, like i will shut it off, go into a store, come back 5 minutes later, and it doesn't start. all the accessories, afc, etc. power up and work fine. then i just let it sit for a few minutes and keep trying and then all of the sudden it starts. this has happened probably 4 or 5 times in the past month. what do you think it could be?

thanks,
Jeff

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Fitch
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Galant VR-4 org Post #: 335900 posted 05/07/06 12:07 AM     Remind Me!  Send Private Message   Edit Post      
Do you mean that it won't even turn over? Perhaps the starter solenoid is overheating, but I can't imagine why; there's nothing in the near vicinity that could heat it that much. Maybe just a loose connection? Have you checked your wiring?

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Jeff (526/1000)
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Galant VR-4 org Post #: 336049 posted 05/07/06 04:18 PM     Remind Me!  Send Private Message   Edit Post      
yeah it won't even turn over. just a clicking sound when i turn the key. its weird, it seems totally random.

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s_firestone
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Galant VR-4 org Post #: 336071 posted 05/07/06 05:11 PM     Remind Me!  Send Private Message   Edit Post      
Clean (or replace) your battery terminals and the connector at the bolt on the positive terminal.



Stephen Firestone
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89coltgt
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Galant VR-4 org Post #: 336126 posted 05/07/06 07:23 PM     Remind Me!  Send Private Message   Edit Post      
If the battery terminals are clean and you have a good ground, you may want to check the clutch switch.



89 Colt GT-14b, 650's, dsmlink, 2600
89 Colt GT-Stock
88 d50 4g63t, southbend dxd clutch, crower 272's, dsmlink



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TheJackalGT
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Galant VR-4 org Post #: 336211 posted 05/07/06 11:27 PM     Remind Me!  Send Private Message   Edit Post      
The clicking sound I have noticed also comes about when the battery has low voltage. I would clean the battery terminals and see if that doesnt help like said before. Check the clutch switch and if none of that works, check what kind of shape the terminals on the starter are in.

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Jeff (526/1000)
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Galant VR-4 org Post #: 336383 posted 05/08/06 12:45 PM     Remind Me!  Send Private Message   Edit Post      
my datalogger says the battery voltage is ok, like 13.8 volts. i will check the terminals, but i think they are ok. is the clutch switch the same thing i cut when i hooked up the stutterbox?

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s_firestone
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Galant VR-4 org Post #: 336508 posted 05/08/06 06:59 PM     Remind Me!  Send Private Message   Edit Post   
It's not voltage(electrical potential), its current(electron flow) that provides the motivation necessary to turn a starter motor. On a bad or corroded battery connection you will get the proper voltages. The problem is that there is not enough conductive area for the large amount of current to flow, when the starter is energized by the relay.

The result is that the bad connection(having resistance) will instantaneously heat, with very little current being able to flow. The effect is that your huge conductive area of the mating surface of your battery terminal becomes non-conductive (lead oxide) with less conducting surface area than a small gauge wire. You hear a click, thats the starter trying to engage the solenoid but lacking the current it needs to actually overcome the mechanical resistance of the engine due to the corroded junction.

It would be like jump-starting your car with a 20 gauge speaker wire.

If a battery post to terminal connection is clean, good and tight, it heats very little(hence very little corrosion).

An example:

The two sets of lines indicating below indicate the amount of conductive area of your battery terminal. The lines are meant to represent mating surface where electrons can flow.

Clean battery to terminal connection(perfect connection):

Battery post
----------------------------------
----------------------------------
Terminal


Corroded battery to terminal connection:

Battery post
--xxxx-xxxxxxxxxxxx---xxxxxxxxxx---
x--xxxxxxxx-xx-xxxxx-xxxxx----x---xx
Terminal

The 2nd illustration shows that although the surface area appears the same, very little of it is conductive. The car will still read proper voltages(both off and with the alternator charging), however the current capacity is diminished. It will usually be enough for normal operation of the car, and randomly get better or worse. Since a starter uses a huge amount of current the whole electrical system draws down.

A $1.50 terminal post cleaner will keep this from happening until the area taken out by corrosion is large enough that you cannot get a good tight connection on the terminals. Past that point you need to replace the terminals or in some extreme cases, replace the battery.

I have seen battery posts damaged by repeated corrosion from heat cycling until they were gouged and could no longer be tightly connected.

New battery terminals bought from a parts store are coated so they will not corrode as fast. Old terminals that have been cleaned several times will sometimes corrode like mad. Once they begin this destructive corrosion it usually consumes part of the metal both inside(structurally) and outside. Lead is used because of its malleability, low melting point, and to cut down galvanic corrosion(dissimilar metals), not because its an ideal conductor.

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